Another Great Feature of American Health Care

I’ve just come back from an appointment with my Columbia primary care physician, who I need a referral from to get any medical treatment I want my insurance company to pay for. The EMG test I had a week and a half ago revealed I needed an MRI, which I of course need a referral for. My physician then informed me that the insurance requires MRI tests to be done at Columbia’s hospital, rather than the hospital the NYU clinic referred me to.

In other words, not only am I burdened with a gatekeeper system and a bureaucracy that leads to waits that make British health care look instantaneous, but also I can’t choose my own doctors and hospitals.

Amazingly, most Americans say they will support universal health care, but not if it means there will be waits or restrictions on their choice of doctors.

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5 Responses to Another Great Feature of American Health Care

  1. Yoram Gat says:

    Where do you get your public opinion data? The poll I find says that a majority of Americans would like to see universal health care even if it mean waits, limited choice and higher taxes.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    It’s not the majority of Americans. The two relevant questions are preceded by, “Asked of respondents who answered ‘universal program.’”

  3. Yoram Gat says:

    You are correct, I did not notice that.

    You do however misrepresent those questions (that seem to be designed to whittle down the number of universal healthcare supporters). The question about choice of doctors talks about limiting “your own choice of doctors”, which the interviewee would probably interpret as limiting the choice compared to the current situation.

    The question about waiting for treatment talks about having waiting lists, rather than just a waiting period. This implies a situation where treatment availability is globally limited and is therefore rationed rather than just delayed due to red tape.

    In any case, those questions are so vague that it easy to understand them (especially in the context they are asked) as discussing extreme situations (for example, having to go to a specific incompetent doctor, or having to wait for years to have your hernia or cataract treated). Such a level of healthcare would be worse for many people than the care they currently get. It is therefore hardly amazing that those people reject a universal healthcare program under such a scenario.

  4. C. L. Hanson says:

    Ideally universal healthcare should allow you to go to the doctor you were referred to…

    Those wacky health insurance companies!!!

  5. Kian says:

    I heart canada. Its insane, this guy Im friends with here, Eric, has the same problem as you do, Alon. He found out last Wednesday that he has foot drop and he went to get his MRI today.

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